We head down the rather steep hill (Di’s sitting in her wheelie and I’m backing “up” so she doesn’t go rolling down at breakneck speed) and stop for a pot of tea (for Di) at Costa Coffee and then to the newsagent’s for magazine, candy and cigarettes. They didn’t have the cigarettes she wanted, but we got candy and her gossip rag. Then it’s back up the hill a bit to the coffee shop and the remainder of her tea.
About ten to six, I begin to push her up the hill to the bank building and it begins to rain — no, we don’t have any rain gear as we hadn’t anticipated being around so long. The doorway has a small overhang and we didn’t get too wet as the taxi was right on time. In goes Di, in goes her “wheelie” and in goes I. Fifteen or so minutes later we’re “home” again.
Gerry and I go to the local fish and chips shop and get four orders of fish, three of chips and one of “mushy” peas. The food was good although Di didn’t really like Maria’s putting the chips in the oven to crisp them up a bit — they were no longer proper “English chips” but American “French fries.”
On Wednesday it’s time to leave Maria and Gerry and head to Newbury where we will stay a night in a hotel before Heathrow and a plane to Corfu on Thursday. The same driver who brought us to Hopton picked us up about 11 am and the three-hour journey begins. Less traffic, a bit less conversation between the two ladies but a much higher volume on the radio, BBC2. Oh, what a headache.
We arrived at the Donnington Grove Hotel and Country Club. No one’s playing golf because of the rain. Our driver helps with unloading our gear, but we then find out our room is in a separate building, again uphill of the main building and reception. Another major job of moving luggage (grumble, grumble, grumble). I put Di’s scooter back together and she motors up to the room while I schlep our luggage in three or four trips.
She has a couple of cigarettes and I make her a pot of tea to keep her company while I take a walk — the first real exercise I’ve had in a week.
“Oh, didn’t you get enough exercise going up and down the stairs at Gerry and Maria’s or dealing with the luggage and Di’s scooter?” No. I don’t call running errands for the wife exercise.
The golf course was rather pretty, had a nice old bridge and ducks and swans aplenty so I took my camera along on the walk. I found a public footpath through the golf course and had an hour and a half walk.
Back at the hotel I enquired after a bite to eat and a drink. The whisky was good but the English make a “Canadian pour” look generous. I also brought a menu back to the room for Charlie to look at.
Oh, yeah, when I charged my drink to our room the bartender said he’d just brought my wife fresh milk and sugar for her tea.
Di’s sister, Tricia, was in the room with Di and they made dinner reservations for six o’clock. Dinner for Di and I as Tricia had to go home and get packed and ready to fly with us the next day.
The dinner was very good. I had a salmon Caesar salad and poached salmon while Di had a small green salad and the poached salmon with boiled new potatoes. The only snags had to do with the waitress thinking I’d ordered the pork and having to wait for my salmon and the wine.
Charlie ordered a half bottle of a sweet dessert wine and when it arrived it turned out to be not what was on the wine list, red and not very sweet or desserty. Eventually, the bartender found an acceptable wine, which Charlie liked (she had a glass or so and I finished off the rest).
Then it was off to bed to wake up at 3:30 am and picked up at 4:45 am for the trip to Heathrow and an 8:50 flight to Corfu.